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Product Review: Veritas Serves Up 'Create Your Own' Backup Solution

Veritas' recent release of Backup Exec Suite 10 combines several of their backup products into a customizable package.

Veritas' recent release of Backup Exec Suite 10 combines several of their backup products into a customizable package. Backup Exec Suite 10 includes Backup Exec V10 for Windows Servers, Replication Exec V3.1 and Storage Exec V5.3.

While the suite includes all these applications, solution providers can pick and choose between the products to build customized backup packages. Veritas created numerous SKUs to support various product combinations without a cost penalty. In other words, upgrading the suite's components or adding features costs about the same as purchasing the entire suite. The build-your-own philosophy can mean upsell opportunities and continuing sales revenue for Veritas partners.

Each application in the suite has new and improved features and capabilities, but the biggest news is how well the three applications interact with each other using a suite integration technology called SmartLink. SmartLink eases management, scheduling, backup, reporting and restore chores. SmartLink further benefits administrators when coupled with the optional Central Admin Server component. Central Admin Server allows administrators to remotely control and dynamically group backup servers. The product extends over the Web and can manage disparate domains, allowing a solution provider to take on remote management chores for their customers. Using Central Admin Server, solution providers can offer backup reporting, remote system restores, storage management and replication services to build a full managed service offering.

Product enhancements go beyond management and integration changes. Each component has been reworked to offer more features and to simplify use. The primary backup component, Backup Exec V10, now directly supports disk-to-disk (D2D) backup and restore capabilities, while still offering archiving and backup to tape or optical media. The combination of D2D and traditional backup technologies gives users the ability to build fast and precise backup and restore schedules, which prove invaluable when crafting a disaster recovery plan.

Other enhancements to Backup Exec V10 include synthetic backup, which allows a baseline backup to be performed and amended each time data changes occur. This is a major advancement over typical incremental backup options offered by competitors. Another notable feature is multistage backup capability, which enables administrators to automate the archiving process. In other words, a backup can be processed to disk and auto-archived to tape, which can help businesses that must meet new legislative requirements placed upon the medical and financial sectors.

Other enhancements include policy support, custom filters and vault support. Those features give administrators better incremental control over the backup process. Veritas further eases use by including templates, which have pre-defined policies and rules. Policies can be defined to control selected files and particular targets, while automating interaction between BackupExec and the target device.

While BackupExec is the core product of the new suite, solution providers will find a lot of value offered by the other components. For example, Replication Exec 3.1 offers continuous file replication across systems, providing realtime file backup and locating data physically closest to the user when properly implemented.

The final component of the suite is Veritas Storage Exec V5.3, a storage management solution that integrates easily with the other software elements of Backup Exec Suite 10. Storage Exec allows administrators to manage various storage elements on the network using an intelligent, wizard-driven process. Version 5.3 offers an enhanced installation routine that greatly streamlines the setup process. A new management console and enhanced wizards make the product viable for smaller networks without dedicated IT support.

Backup Exec Suite 10 integration with the Central Admin Server add-on allows solution providers to extend storage management as part of a managed service. Native cluster support allows Storage Exec to scale to large networks, while still maintaining a level of simplicity. Veritas's SmartLink technology allows Storage Exec to easily interact with the other products in Backup Exec Suite, which translates to more efficient storage planning, data archiving and disaster recovery planning.

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